Tag Archive | Boohoo

Girls and the city

Fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn once said: “Paris is always a good idea”.  I couldn’t agree more, Paris, like New York is a city I never tire of as there are always new things to discover.

map of paris

Paris is chic personified, the city and fashion go together like strawberries and cream.  It is the home of Chanel and Dior as well as the birth place of Karl Lagerfeld, John-Paul Gaultier, not to mention some fabulous accessory brands, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Cartier.  The allure of  French fashion for me began as a teenager when I discovered Kookai, a label founded in Paris in 1983.  Unfortunately Kookai no longer exists in England so you can imagine my joy on my recent visit to Paris on seeing the store.  Naturally I had to go in and purchase.

In September I spent a very enjoyable long weekend in Paris with two of my closest friends from school.  We started the trip as we meant to go on with prosecco on the Eurostar while reminiscing about French lessons at school and visits to La Serronerie, the house near Normandy that the school owned.  I always adored the French language, despite it not coming naturally to me and so studied it right through to A Level.  I actually surprised myself on this trip at how much came back to me.  When travelling it’s important to be comfortable so I wore a black pleated midi skirt from Asos with a t-shirt embroidered with the Paris skyline from Topshop.


I first visited Paris aged about 13 with my Mum (see picture below) when her best friend lived on the outskirts and it was love at first sight.  I have returned many times since then, as well as introducing others to its wonderful charm.

cft paris

Anyone who reads my blog will know that Sex and the City is an obsession for me and therefore first on my list for this trip was to explore the sights of those 2004 epic finale episodes, guided by the website Set in Paris.  It made perfect sense that Carrie Bradshaw should visit the French capital as fictionally, she is one of the biggest fashionistas and as she puts it so eloquently, is “a person looking for love”.   My outfit for this occasion was carefully planned, a black cord pinafore dress over a mustard long-sleeved top, both from New Look, set off with a beautiful Victoria Beckham for Target silk scarf and Carrie Bradshaw herself would have been proud of the amount of ground I covered in my patent Oasis heels.

In these finale episodes, we first see Carrie in Paris as she arrives at Hotel Plaza Athenee and the hotel is even grander in the flesh than it looked on the screen.  The weather was wet, just as it was for most of Carrie’s trip but the hotel is simply striking in any weather with its beautiful balconies, adorned with red flowers and the Eiffel Tower just a stones throw away.

The hotel is on the most fashionable street in Paris, Avenue Montaigne which is home to all the haute culture brands.  Indeed the Dior store where Carrie slips over is on this street.

When Carrie finds herself alone in Paris again, vowing to “do French things and be very parisien” she visits Cador patisserie, where she shares cake with a large dog.  Cador is unfortunately no longer and instead there is Cojean – an organic cafe.

Kong, the restaurant where Carrie meets Aleksandr Petrovsky’s ex-wife and gets an insight into what he is really like is still there although we didn’t go inside.

There is no better people to explore a city like Paris with than your girlfriends and that is what Carrie is missing in Paris.  This hits home for her when she spies four girls having lunch in l’Avenue.

The last time we see Carrie and Aleksandr happy is when they are strolling through place du dauphine after Carrie has bumped into her French fan base.

When Aleksandr feels nervous about the opening of his light exhibition, Carrie ditches her dinner with her fans to attend the museum with him.

Carrie goes to Paris with a new man for a new life but returns with an ‘old’ man to her old life which is quite ironic but of course gave many fans the ending they craved of Carrie and Big finally getting it together for good.  We see Carrie hear the long awaiting declaration from Big on pont des arts “Carrie you’re the one”.

So that was my Sex and the City tour of Paris but of course we did plenty of the sights too.  We stayed in Montmartre which is one of my favourite parts of Paris.  Known as the art district, it has a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere than other areas of Paris.  The main square (place du tertre) has a carnival atmosphere with artists painting and sketching and selling their work.

Overlooking the main square, on the highest point of the city, is the beautiful white stone basilica of Sacre-Coeur.  This gives visitors a great view over the whole of Paris.  The building is awe-inspiring whether seen by night or day.  If the steps up are too much of a challenge, there is a small funicular that takes you to the top for a small fee.  The inside is just as beautiful with its stunning painted ceilings and carvings.

Having done the cultural bit, the shops in this area are well worth exploring, particularly the macaron stores.  A quirky find is the shop Belle du Jour which specialises in traditional, vintage perfume bottles.

On a couple of evenings we enjoyed dinner at L’ete en Pente Douce where delicious food can be enjoyed on the pavement terrace soaking up the Montmartre ambiance.  On the walk back to the hotel, we were tempted into a small creperie for a sweet treat on more than one occasion!

On one of the days while there, the rain became torrential and so we opted to duck out of the showers in some of the wonderful shops along the Champs-Elysees.  We walked the full length of the street to where it meets the Arc de Triomphe.  My friend had a fantastic make-over by the Urban Decay stand in Sephora and we queued for macarons in Laduree.  Laduree is a beautiful and regal store where you can eat in or simply buy some of the luxury sweet treats which the brand has been making since 1862.

I had never seen the famous painting, the Mona Lisa and so we paid to go in Louvre museum simply to see it.  The Louvre is the most visited art museum in the world and the glass pyramid in the main courtyard of the museum is a work of art in itself.  The Mona Lisa however was somewhat of a disappointment.  It is much much smaller than one imagines and you have to fight your way through throngs of people in order to get a look at it behind glass.

On this day I wore a checked pleat mini skirt from Oasis with a Boohoo slogan t-shirt and a long grey cardigan from Oasis.  I finished the outfit with my red patent bow pumps which I bought in Milan.

my outfit

No trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower.  We visited at night when it is spectacularly lit and went right to the top, which while blustery and cold was worth it for the views and the champagne at the champagne bar.  When we came down, I indulged the child in me and had a ride on the traditional Victorian carousel.  It was a magical evening.

Our final day came round all too soon and we decided to begin with a boat trip along the Seine.  On this day I wore a Breton t-shirt dress from New Look, clinched in at the waist with a red belt, also from New Look which nicely tied in the red mac from Marks and Spencer.  We visited Notre Dame with its impressive stained glass windows and finished up with lunch at a cafe on the left bank which is linked to the Shakespeare and Company book store.  The book store sells English language books and is part shop and part library.  Many writers write here amongst the books, in exchange for helping in the shop.  It really is an Aladdin’s cave and a bohemian heaven, somewhere I would love to sit and write myself.  It totally inspired me and I’d love to come back.

Paris should be on every fashionistas bucket list and is a perfect break for friends or couples.  I will certainly be returning to one of the greatest fashion capitals of the world.  As Honore de Balzac, a French novelist and playwright said “Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant”.



Twinkle Twinkle

A Star – to geometrists a type of non-convex polygon and to astrologers a luminous ball of gas.  Stars have long been represented in many ways in culture and in art and the most common is a 5 pointed star.  No one knows for sure the origins of this symbol; some believe it is from Egyptian hieroglyphics whilst others think it is because when you look at a star it appears to have 5 lines coming out which are diffraction spikes caused by the way light enters the eye.  On the US flag the stars represent the heavens.  Stars are also commonly used a symbol of fame.  This is perhaps because you look up to stars in the sky and people look up to famous people.

Whatever the reasons behind the five-pointed star symbol, Autumn/Winter 2016 has seen the star become the go to print.  Below I show you some of my favourite uses of this cosmic symbol in this seasons fashions.


Star blouse Zara, Jeans and shoes Oasis, Bag Aldo


Starry T-shirt New Look, faux leather metallic skirt New Look, shoes Oasis, handbag Coach


Star nose stud jewellerybox.co.uk, glitter star headband Boohoo and necklace mynamenecklace.co.uk


Sandals by Office


Pyjama top and socks by Oasis, lounge pants by New Look and slippers by Asda


Earrings Apples and Figs at London Fashion Weekend

Au Revoir Summer

September can be seen as the prelude to dark, cold winter days but to Fashionistas, it only means one thing, time for London Fashion Week!

Once again I attended London Fashion Weekend at the Saatchi Gallery – a chance for the everyday followers of fashion to access the latest seasons trends.  This year my long suffering husband gave up his Formula 1 viewing to attend with me – that’s what I call love.


I always try to make an effort with my outfit as you don’t want to let yourself down at one of the biggest fashion events of the year.  I chose a baby pink floral prom style dress from Boohoo with an embroidered denim jacket from New Look.  2016 has definitely been the year for embroidered denim and I love the French element on this jacket.  I paired the outfit with some cute black flats with multiple straps which I picked up from Zara after they featured in Fabulous magazine.  My trusty black quilted, Chanelesq bag was a perfect accompaniment.  The finishing touch to the outfit was a cute Alice in Wonderland necklace that I discovered in a quirky shop in Rye.  I was ecstatic when I was complimented on not just my dress, but also my shoes and necklace by people at the show.





I was in my element wandering around the pop-up boutiques and my husband didn’t whinge once although I’m sure he was biting his tongue.





I was intrigued by a pop-up perfume boutique – Miller Harris which I don’t believe had been at the show before.  The company was founded in 2000 by Lyn Harris who trained for five years in Paris and draws on nature as a base for her fragrances.  There were six multiple choice questions for the customer to answer about themselves and that would then point to the scent for you.  I have to say it was pretty accurate as it pointed me to Rose Silence which was the scent I had initially been drawn to anyway.


Miller Harris Perfume Questionnaire

It didn’t take long for me to find my way to the shoe section of the show and as soon as I walked in, I spotted some stunning black and gold tassel heels by Alexander White.  The brand was founded in 2014 by a graduate and the shoes are designed in London but made in Italy.  I couldn’t resist adding these to my ever-expanding collection especially given they were an amazing bargain at only £175 when the RRP is £450!


Having given my credit card a workout, it was time to chill with a latte.  Even the coffee cups are given a style edit.  This year Lavazza partnered with Mother of Pearl – a brand whose signature is prints.


Following a browse of the accessory floor where I picked up a pretty green and black floral headband by Her Curious Nature and persuaded my husband to get me an early Christmas present of star stud earrings by Apples and Figs – there was just time for a glass of champagne before the start of the highlight of the day, the trend catwalk show.


Her Curious Nature




This year the trend show was styled by Avenue 32 and presented by Laura Jackson. Three key winter trends were presented.


The show opened with ‘A Velvet Affair’.  Velvet is often associated with Royalty due to the expense involved in its production as well as its unusual look and feel.


Dress by Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini


The designers and stars alike have certainly taken to it this season.  In order to avoid looking like granny’s curtains, I have opted to go the accessory route with this trend and couldn’t resist these pumps with matching bag from New Look.


The second trend was ‘New Look Lace.’  I have always loved the delicate nature of lace and the air of femininity it gives to an outfit.  I particularly like it used in high neck blouses which gives an outfit a Victoriana feel.




Blouse by Perseverance London

The final trend showcased was ‘Winter Florals’ and I’m pleased florals has continued as a trend, through from summer.


Dress by Needle and Thread


Dress by A.W.A.K.E.


Dress by Needle and Thread

The designer tote bag has become a key part of the event and this years bag designed by the iconic shoe designer Sophia Webster was far from a disappointment.  Sophia founded her brand in 2012 and it has been more than successful; she has even started a line of children’s shoes.  How cute is it that mother and daughter can have matching shoes – I would love a little girl to be my mini me in Sophia’s shoes!  The bag was filled with some great samples as usual – I particularly liked the Maybelline Baby Lips, it leaves lips lovely and soft as well as giving a hint of colour.


Finally I decided that it was time to put my husband out of his misery, despite his impeccable behaviour so we retired for Sunday lunch in The Trafalgar – a vintage decorated pub 0n the Kings Road.

Next year, the event has been renamed London Fashion Week Festival and will  move to The Store Studios on the Strand as part of the British Fashion Council’s pledge to build on consumer engagement with British designers.

Look out for more posts on this seasons trends and let me know how you are styling them.

Shoes Pleasure and Pain

On American Independence day, I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London with my friend to see the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition. I had been looking forward to this for weeks as it is certainly an exhibition made for me; my idea of heaven.  


High & Mighty shoot, American Vogue February 1995 (model: Nadja Auermann) Dolce & Gabbana suit, Summer 1995 © Estate of Helmut Newton / Maconochie Photography Image courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

I’m sure women everywhere can identify with the fine line between pleasure and pain that shoes often occupy. How many times have we worn a fab pair of heels dancing and ended up crippled by the end of the night and sometimes even walked home in bare feet? So why do we do it? Shoes have the power to make us feel differently about ourselves, that’s why.

Status is often implied by the shoes we wear – when we see a flash of a red soled Louboutin – we know the person has not only class but money. History also supports shoes as symbols of status with royalty wearing heels to tower above their subjects and geisha shoes with their huge platforms that elevate the geisha to quite a height so that they were in the eye line of men and above other women.  Talking of platform shoes, on display at the exhibition were the famous Vivienne Westwood blue mock-croc platforms which Naomi Campbell fell over on the catwalk in during a Paris fashion show in 1993.


Installation view of Shoes: Pleasure and Pain 13 June 2015 – 31 January 2016 Christian Louboutin ‘Pigalle’ pump Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Heels make us walk differently – they thrust our hips forward and elongate our legs which is seen as attractive to men, hence shoes often being seen as fetish objects.

An entire outfit can be changed by the choice of shoes – how many times have we borrowed a pair of heels in a dress shop in order to get a true impression of the dress?

Personally I feel that heels make my silhouette appear to be thinner and therefore I feel more self-confident. There is the added bonus that once we reach adulthood our feet don’t change size so they always fit however many chocolates you have eaten! I have often been shopping and resolved to buy nothing, having had my self-confidence shattered by the mirrors in the changing rooms to only then purchase a pair of shoes to cheer myself up.

I felt as though I should wear some nice shoes for the exhibition, which gave me an excuse to purchase a new pair! (Not that I need an excuse). I had read an interview in Look magazine with Kat Maconie, a British shoe designer who launched in 2009, and I was inspired to check out her collection. I purchased these stylish black sandals with chain ankle strap and the must have block heel. I wore them with an embroidered playsuit from Boohoo. I must admit I am a convert to the playsuit trend since purchasing this one. In the past I have found them not to suit my build particularly well but thought I would try again since stars such as Ella Henderson look fab in them without being stick thin. I am so pleased I did as this black one complements my curves and the embroidery is so pretty and unusual. I used my red quilted bag from Fashion Union to complement the red embroidery.


shoe box


The exhibition contains around 250 pairs of shoes and looks at the history of shoes, the basics of making them, the fairy-tale quality of shoes, shoes as tools of seduction as well as our obsession with them and contains a sample of some shoe collectors hoards, as well as many shoes from the museums archives.   There is a pair of Imelda Marcos’s shoes – she infamously had a collection of some three thousand pairs. It has been suggested that her obsession may have been born out of the denial of shoes when she lived in a garage with her ailing mother as a child.   Interestingly the collections were not all of designer shoes and one in particular contained lots of high street labels.

There was a video running shots of shoes from movies and my favourite scene of Big proposing to Carrie with the blue Manolo’s I wore for my wedding was amongst them, although I was disappointed that the shoe itself was not part of the exhibition   There were however a few pairs of Manolo’s there and also a Jimmy Choo shoe which Carrie wore in an episode of Sex and the City. There was also a pair of white stilettos worn by Marilyn Monroe.

My Manolo Blahnik wedding shoes

My Manolo Blahnik wedding shoes


Installation view of Shoes: Pleasure and Pain 13 June 2015 – 31 January 2016 Manolo Blahnik ‘Tendola’ sandal, 2014 Victoria and Albert Museum, London

There is no doubt that shoes have power over our emotions but in fairy tales their magical qualities have been explored. At the exhibition were the red ballet shoe worn in the film, The Red Shoes, released in 1948. In this film a young ballerina joins an established ballet company and is chosen for the lead role in the ballet called The Red Shoes which is based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale first published in 1845 about the red ballet shoes that danced by themselves. In the film the girl is torn between her love of ballet and her romantic love, which when she chooses the man, she dies wearing the red shoes.


Red ballet shoes made for Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) in The Red Shoes (1948), silk satin, braid and leather, England 1948 Freed of London (founded in 1929), Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

Another fairy tale shoe on display was the glass slipper from this year’s Cinderella film – you can read more about this shoe on a previous blog about the Cinderella Exhibition

I thought I knew all there was to know about shoes but I did learn something; the height of Louboutin shoes varies according to the size of the shoe. This keeps the silhouette of the shoe the same and avoids some unwearable angles.

Anyway, enough from me, who better to tell you about the exhibition than the curator herself, Helen who I was lucky enough to be able to put my questions to.

What inspired you to do this particular exhibition?

The idea of this exhibition came about 5 years ago when I came across drawers in one of the V&A stores filled with heavily embroidered Indian shoes with long curly toes made out of rich and colourful materials, embroidery with iridescent green beetle wings, silk, spangles and gold. These were unpractical, beautiful shoes for the Indian elite. I then realised that this was, and is, happening in many other cultures and historical periods such as ancient Egypt China, Renaissance Italy, Manchu China etc… and of course nowadays.

How many pairs of shoes were originally identified to be included and how did you narrow it down?

From the start of this project we always knew we would have around 250 pairs of shoes in the exhibition but choosing the final selection of around 250 pairs of shoes has been one of the most challenging aspects of my job. The V&A holds an extensive footwear collection, both Western and Asian, encompassing over 2000 pairs spanning 3000 years of history. I have also explored several private and public collections worldwide. Choosing the right pair of shoes has not always been easy. I wanted thought to convey a specific message and tell a story, I have consequently chosen shoes that could help me follow the narrative. I also chose pairs and shoes that were beautiful, sculptural and in a good conservative condition.

How long did the exhibition take to pull together?

Full time has been about 2 years but the original idea came about 5 years ago

Do the curators have a favourite shoe?

The favourite shoe changes from day to day – but to be able to include the Cinderella slipper from Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella movie was quite spectacular!

 What’s the most outrageous shoe on display?

Perhaps the shoes for bound feet from China, as people find this practice particularly gruesome and painful. But the history of foot-binding is incredibly complex, and there is not one story but many as the practice and meanings of foot-binding evolved and changed over time. In the beginning foot-binding was an elite urban fashion, not so different in a way from stiletto-clad westerners, achieving what was culturally conceived to be a sexy walk and to give the impression of small feet. And to be seen as wealthy and belonging to a privileged and exclusive circle.

All shoes have their own story behind them but is there a story you found particularly inspiring and if so what?

A pair of boots from 1943 were made by a local shoe maker in Kensington, London from the client’s old coats (one red leather coat, one ozelot fur coat). During the Second World War, the design of shoes was dictated both by a lack of materials and sensibility about what was appropriate. But these beautifully made boots circumvented wartime rationing. They push the boundaries of the acceptable, with scene-stealing red leather platforms and 10 cm high heels. The boots document the human desire for new and beautiful things, even in the midst of war. They show creativity, innovation and coping in adversity.

The exhibition runs until 31st January 2016 and is a must for all you shoe lovers out there.